Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Schooling of Hard Knox -- Bout Recap

Last Saturday I went to the first event of the home season for the Cincinnati Rollergirls – The Schooling of Hard Knox – held at the Cincinnati Gardens. It was a double header with the CRG Silent Lambs taking on the Hard Knox Brawlers in a 40 minute bout and the CRG Black Sheep battling the Hard Knox A-Team in a 60 minute bout. The event turned out to be appropriately titled as both of the CRG teams came away with decisive wins. Congrats to all the Silent Lambs and the Black Sheep! CRG Lambs vs HKRG GIt was a great evening for the large crowd. I didn’t hear an attendance count, but judging from the sizes of last season’s crowds there must have been more than a thousand people there. Just noticed Miss Print reports over 1500 spectators!!

The opening match was the first time most CRG fans saw some new skaters to the sport (Captain Painway, Bangin’ Brunette, and Manic Janet) and some experienced transplants (Polly Rocket and Karma Krash) joining the returning CRG skaters. It was an especially unique bout for Karma Krash, who was skating against her former teammates. The spectators also saw the return of Susie Shinsplintski as the official blowing the starting whistle with style and gusto as shown in the photo at the right.

CRG Lambs vs HKRG 17Initially the primary Silent Lamb jammers were Dr. McDerby, Polly Rocket, Miss Print and Bex Pistol. McDerby looked strong as usual and got the Lambs off to an early lead. Miss Print had several high scoring jams in the first period and at least a couple grand slams (and I think one double grand slam?) during the bout. She took some hard hits from the Brawlers, but kept moving without getting hung up in the pack. The photo at right shows Miss Print taking a hard block from Rock Nasty that sent MP to the floor.

The Lambs were working pretty well together as a team. Skaters in the pack were doing a pretty good job shifting from offense to defense. The photo below shows Miss Print getting a nice whip from Killian Destroy. The Lamb blockers were also successful at slowing the Brawler jammers. At the end of the first period, the Lambs were ahead with a score of 41 to 19.

CRG Lambs vs HKRG 4

As the match progressed, several skaters took their turn wearing the jammer star. Cherry Choke, Jungle Lacy, and Glamour Azz all had the chance to score. The second period was a repeat of the first period and the Lambs ended up with a decisive win over the Hard Knox Brawlers with a score of 93 to 34. Great job from the Lambs. You can see more of my photos from the Silent Lambs/Brawlers bout in my Flickr set here.

CRG Sheep vs HKRG 40The second match between the CRG Black Sheep and the Hard Knox A-Team started out with a surprise. After the initial couple of jams, the Black Sheep trailed Hard Knox with a score of 11 to 7. Although four points isn’t much in a bout, it was nonetheless a surprising start. But once they settled in, the Black Sheep went on an amazing scoring spree while almost completely shutting down the Hard Knox jammers. The CRG defense was so effective, the Black Sheep jammers had quite a few grand slams even though they had to make it through the Hard Knox blockers on their own quite a bit of the time. The primary jammers were Hannah Barbaric, Candy KICKass, and K. Lethal (photo above at right). CRG Sheep vs HKRG 21According to the CRG twitters during the bout (by the way, nice touch having a dedicated Twitterer during the bout), K. Lethal led the first half scoring with 33! Sadistic Sadie was jamming, but unfortunately for Hard Knox the addition of K. Lethal to the jammer rotation allowed Sadie to rotate in with the already tough Black Sheep blockers. The photo at right shows the Hard Knox jammer Goblynn boxed in by the CRG blocking team of Sista Sacralicious, Trauma, and Sadistic Sadie. Good luck trying to get through that! At the end of the first half the Black Sheep were ahead with a score of 85 to 18. You know it's bad when the pivot on the opposing team is skating backwards in front of you -- I love the photo below.

CRG Sheep vs HKRG 26

The second period was another rough 30 minutes for Hard Knox. They scored 20 more points, but were shut down at 38 for quite a few jams! In the meantime, Hannah and Candy led the CRG jamming effort and the bout ended with the Black Sheep winning with a score of 178 to 38. Congrats to the Black Sheep! The photo below shows Candy KICKass rounding the turn during one of her jamming sprints. The rest of my photos from the Black Sheep/Hard Knox bout can be found in this Flickr set.

CRG Sheep vs HKRG 7

CRG Sheep vs HKRG 43Overall I thought it was a great event. It’s good to see the Black Sheep greet and connect with the crowd while the Lambs are warming up. I like the new floor seating arrangement that puts the fans close to the track and effectively surrounds the player benches instead of having the players off to the side. The half-time entertainment by the CincyCool Skate Crew was very good! Finally, as usual, the skaters were good about making themselves available to give autographs and chat with fans after the bout. Dianne took a photo of me with Karma Krash (at right) and I got to meet K. Lethal (photo below) as well. The only thing that disappointed me a bit was that it was difficult to hear the announcers The Tank and Collier Mama. That was too bad as I enjoy The Tank’s commentary and Collier Mama brings some color and skater experience to the mix.

CRG Sheep vs HKRG 44I was sitting by several folks from the Cincinnati Imports group from Facebook – Miss Print fans. It was nice to meet you all. I noticed quite a few blog posts about the bout. Check out this post by 5chw4r7z, this post from Queer Cincinnati, and this wonderful story and bout impressions on Kate's random musings (thanks Kate for exchanging Moo cards).
Also, click here for photos from Jason and here for photos from Jeff – the CRG photographers that rock!

The next CRG event is on April 11th. I hope attendance stays up to cheer on the Cincinnati Rollergirls. If you go, stop by the Flock section before the bout or at a break to say hello. It’s always great to meet other derby fans.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CRG Home Opener This Weekend

This Saturday the Cincinnati Rollergirls have their home opener against the Hard Knox Rollergirls at the Cincinnati Gardens. The bout poster is below. The CRG teams are coming off wins a few weeks ago in Grand Rapids and should be tough. It'll be interesting to see who will be skating for the Sheep and Lambs. Hard Knox just received WFTDA status, so I expect they'll be hungry for a win against the ranked CRG team to make a statement.

It should be a fun evening. I hope there is a large crowd to cheer on the CRG teams. I'll be sitting in the Flock section. Stop by to say hi before the bout or at a break.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

BBRG and GCRG Scrimmage

Today I went up to Skateworld of Kettering to watch a scrimmage between the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls and the Gem City Rollergirls. There were some familiar faces skating on the BBRG team, but there were also several skaters that were new to me. Very few of the GCRG skaters were familiar from past bouts against the Cincinnati Rollergirls, and they had quite a large group of skaters suited up for the event. Apparently GCRG has a lot of new blood (or fresh meat) coming in to the team.

BBRG versus GCRG 18As you might expect with a scrimmage, GCRG was trying many different combinations of skaters for each jam and they were rotating people among positions as well. That seemed to make it hard for GCRG to get a rhythm going, although it was good experience for the skaters. There seemed to be some confusion with scoring at the start of the first period -- or at least some confusion in the crowd. Four of us, including a couple volunteers, noticed GCRG's score go from 9 down to 4 at one point. BBRG dominated the first half with some speedy jammers and some good blocking. The photo at right shows Aine Ass skating straight out from the inside of the turn to block GCRG jammer Seoul Sister out. At the end of the first 30 minute period the Black-n-Bluegrass team was ahead 73 to 11.

In the second period, GCRG put together some good jams. At one point with BBRG shorthanded due to some penalties, GCRG used a wall of blockers to effectively tie up the opposing jammer while their own jammer, Racey Rocket, scored quite a few points. She had a few good jams in the second period that increased the GCRG point total quite a bit. The scrimmage ended with a score of BBRG 129 and GCRG 63. Congrats to Black-n-Bluegrass!

I posted a few photos from the scrimmage below -- including a BBRG team photo. You can see all my photos in a Flickr set here. I was trying a new, multiple flash technique. I haven't perfected the technique yet but it was a good place to try multiple flashes since the lighting made natural light photos impossible for me.

The next GCRG bout is against the Ohio Roller Girls on April 19th. The Black-n-Bluegrass team gets in full swing in May. Check out their site for more information.

Florence Nite-n-Hell squeezes between two GCRG blockers.
BBRG versus GCRG 8

Nuk'em blocks Slay as Nastee breaks out of the pack.
BBRG versus GCRG 10

Roseanne takes a fall after some GCRG blocks.
BBRG versus GCRG 24

Black-n-Bluegrass team at the scrimmage.
BBRG versus GCRG 50

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jawbreaker Video

A couple weeks ago the Cincinnati based band Pike was shooting a video with the Cincinnati Rollergirls for their song Jawbreaker. It was hard to imagine the end result while watching them work on some of the isolated shots. They posted the final result on YouTube. Here it is, with big skater roles for The Librarian, Ruff'n the Passer, and Susie Shinsplintski and showing many of the CRG skaters. Very cool!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quad State Terrors versus the Killamazoo Derby Darlins

Last Saturday night, Dianne and I went to Skatetown USA in West Chester to see the Quad State Terrors (QST) Rollergirls take on the Killamazoo Derby Darlins (KDD). The Quad State Terrors group is a pick-up team of skaters from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. For this bout most of the QST skaters were from the Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls with Grand Raggidy Rollergirls Dot Matrix and Viva La BOOM joining for the bout. I was not familiar with the KDD team. The announcers mentioned that several of the KDD skaters were rookies skating in their first bout.

During the opening minutes of the first half, the Killamazoo team started well and they capitalized on a couple QST jammer penalties that let KDD take and hold the lead. The KDD skaters Lady Hawk, Javelin, and Charisnakov were doing most of the jammer work. QST vs KDD25According to the KDD website, Lady Hawk is the team captain and Javelin is a coach. Both are solid skaters. Javelin was doing a lot of good work as a blocker too.

After those initial minutes, QST settled down and started chipping away at the KDD lead. It didn’t take long before they moved ahead and kept the lead for the rest of the bout. At the end of the first half the score was QST 61 and KDD 37. The primary jammers for QST were EMolition, Roseanne Scarr (in the photo at right), Dot Matrix, and Petal to the Metal, with Viva la BOOM taking her turns as well. One of my favorite jammer photos of the night is this photo of Dot Matrix headed for the pack at full speed.

QST vs KDD19

QST vs KDD42My impression was the QST blocking was led by Nuk’em and Juwanna Hurt. The photo at right shows Nuk’em giving a shoulder block to KDD pivot Noam Stompsky. The photo below shows what happens when Juwanna Hurt gives a booty block -- it sent KDD jammer Charisnakov flying through the air.

QST vs KDD39

QST vs KDD22Many other QST skaters such as Nastee, Arche Enemy and Buckhead Betty were always busy in the pack making some hard hits. The first photo at right shows the result of Arche’s block on KDD skater Ivanna O’bliviacha. Click here to see a photo showing Buckhead Betty trying to slow down the KDD jammer Charisnakov.

The QST continued to pull away in the second half and the match ended with a final score of QST 144 and KDD 91. Congratulations to the Quad State Terrors on their first victory in 2009!

Both teams have some talented skaters. Skaters from both teams were able to get lead jammer status on and off throughout the bout. There were some high scoring jams – at one point Roseanne Scarr had a 14-0 point jam that was answered by KDD with a 14-0 point jam just a few minutes later. Dot Matrix was one jammer that had a grand slam. There were some good blocks here and there throughout the bout and some pack members gave whips to assist their jammers. While there were some great individual efforts, I didn’t get a sense that either team had consistent, coordinated actions in the pack. As the season progresses and teams get more experience communicating with teammates and anticipating their actions, both teams should improve their competitive skills.

The announcers, The Tank and JoeXCore, did a nice job during the bout. Both of them know the rules and used that knowledge to explain the action very clearly. One thing that was missing was the excitement provided by a good sized crowd. QST vs KDD55Although Pistol Whippin’ Wendy brought along a cheering section with signs (see a photo here), overall the crowd at this first local Quad State Terrors bout was small and relatively quiet.

Their next local bout is against the Riverside Rollergirls at the Hamilton Roundup on March 28th. After the bout I talked briefly with Skinnie Minnie (at right) and Nuk’em (photo below). Thanks to both of them for taking the time to chat. Dianne very kindly took photos of me with each of them. You can see more photos from the bout in my Flickr photo set here.

QST vs KDD56